November 12th, 2020

By now, as we come close to the middle of November, you’ve probably heard of a little something called NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). In fact, you may have even joined the frenzy yourself! 

For those who don’t know, NaNoWriMo is both a community and an event. Once a year, this group of writers gets (virtually) together and attempts to maintain a writing streak of 1,667 words a day for the entire month. By the end, the goal is to have a manuscript of 50,000 words or more.

Participating authors are expecting to reach the 20,000-word mark soon. This is an amazing feat! Yet, this is also the time when author burnout tends to set in. Life is still as hectic as before, and writing is just as demanding. It’s easy to grow discouraged, so what can you do when you hit a creative low?

#1 – Fall Back in Love with Your Novel

Take a moment to remember why this idea excited you so much. Reread your outlines, listen to your book playlists, reread your opening page, or find your own ways to remind yourself why you originally fell in love with your story. Your ideas are amazing. They inspired you to take this journey. Most importantly, they are yours! Only you can write them. 

Be careful though—don’t use this as an excuse to go back and edit. It’s easy to fall into the editing trap but wait until your second draft. Don’t let the urge slow your momentum.

#2 – Get Out of the House

This is a challenge with COVID-19 lockdowns in effect around the world. Still, if you can, visit a local park, go one a hike, or even take a walk around your neighborhood. Let your brain relax and thank it for working so hard.

If you can’t leave the house, try to sit somewhere new. Call a family member or friend and talk about anything but writing. Use this as an opportunity to rest and refresh your mind. 

#3 – Revisit Your Favorite Stories (That You Didn’t Write)

What books inspire you? What movies capture your imagination? What songs give you the urge to create? Revisit those, guilt free. Writing is important, but don’t forget to nourish your imagination. 

Along with that, take a moment to reach out to the creators of your favorite content via their social media. Whatever you’re going through, they have too. Whether they respond or not, they’ll appreciate knowing that their hard work inspired others.

#4 – Connect with Other Authors

The community might be one of the greatest benefits of NaNoWriMo. Find your regional group on www.NaNoWriMo.com and see if they have a Facebook page or scheduled write-ins. Some areas even have local authors give free talks about writing strategies, characterization, plot, and more. 

Authors tend to be introverts, but even introverts need a space to collaborate. Don’t be afraid to try the tools on NaNoWriMo’s website and connect with other writers. You might find a buddy to compete with, or a sounding board to help you through that writer’s block. 

#5 – No Matter What, Keep Writing!

The only way to finish your novel is to write it! It’s easy to become distressed or distracted. Imposter Syndrome might tell you that it’s time to quit, but you can’t. Imagine your finished draft and keep writing. Before you know it, it’ll be in your hands.

Remember, wherever you are in your writing journey, what matters is that you don’t stop. Find ways to keep yourself motivated and use them. And then, when you make it to that final page, you can pass those secrets on to other authors.